The concept of “pre-insolvency situation” aggregates different legal norms that require harmonization in the context of a situation of business crisis, even if that situation might not still be one of the situations normatively recognised by legislation, as is the case, for example, in Portugal, of the “difficult economic situation” or the “situation of insolvency”. Simultaneously, within the existing legal framework, business continuity is generally seen as preferable to business destruction, since value (and the ability to generate it) goes beyond asset value, arising also from the specific organisation of resources (financial, human, know-how and others) contained in the business at that time. However, since recovery is not only linked to the evaluation of a business activity’s viability, but, also, to the individual interests of each creditor, the “pre-insolvency situation” prompts several challenges, subject to analysis in this study. Due to the preponderance of limited liability companies as the vehicle for business activity, the effect of the “pre-insolvency situation” in the fiduciary duties of directors of those companies is also studied. From the existing legal rules I identify an answer to the conflict of interests between corporate stakeholders specific to that situation, in order to propose a legal mechanism incident on management, who can act towards the resolution of possible incompatibilities in a manner that is timely in terms of promoting business continuity, in order to ensure the correction (or appropriateness) of the decision making process used in that situation, therefore preventing recalcitrant, opportunistic or abstentionist behaviours that have a negative impact in the company’s asset composition. The combined analysis of Corporate Insolvency Law – including the Directive (EU) 2019/1023, of 20 June 2019, on restructuring and insolvency – and Corporate Law, is supplemented by the consideration of the legal effects derived from this coexistence, namely in terms of creditor behaviour (aimed to defend their individual rights as a claimant) and the behaviour of shareholders and other intervening actors. It’s in this context that I claim that the contents of the fiduciary duties of directors know refractions that are exclusive to the “pre-insolvency situation”, a configuration of their duties directed at alleviating the effects of potential abuses that would be made possible if their function could be performed without any type of limitation and, also, at enhancing behaviours that promote business continuity or, at least, minimize the consequences of a possibly forthcoming “situation of insolvency”. To this extent, one of the prices of director’s discretion is monitoring business viability, structuring the company to identify the “pre-insolvency situation” and weigh the reaction to the challenges it places.
|Number of pages||522|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Feb 2021|
- Direito Comercial